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Can't find your file?

Author:
Walter Tran
Chief Operating Officer
Holocentric

LinkedIn Profile

This is an article for both the office OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) types and the more relaxed ones amongst us. In the modern workplace where collaborating and sharing is at its heights, what can drive most people mad is when someone you are collaborating with can’t find the file you have shared. Why is it so hard for someone else to find what you have shared? Can’t the other person just be more organised or have a better memory?  

I’m sure if you are like me, sometimes I even forget where I’ve saved a file. Did I put it in the right SharePoint location? Did I forget it to share it from my private OneDrive? Or worse yet, is it on a local folder on my laptop? 

Here are some considerations: 

1. Use the subject in the title
This sounds obvious but consider what you might do in a few months’ time when you need to find it again. Don’t be cute and go with something short. What might be the key words that would help? Using search is one of the most common activities to find files later and most searches prioritise keywords in the title of the file before the content. So instead of the title ‘Incidents’, consider something like ‘NDIS Regulation Updates – Participant Incidents’.

2. Numbering for sorting
SharePoint (or your preferred Document Management System) will naturally sort files in alphabetical order. This means numbers before letters - a character at a time. We use numbers for organising and sequencing items in a list, but a common mistake is to use the number without leading zeros. That’s because humans are taught to count 1, 2, 3, 4. Whilst computers count 0001, 0002, 0003, 0004 (non-geek version). Ever see ‘v1’ followed by ‘v11’, ‘v12’, ‘v13’ before v2? If you want it to sort correctly, then you need to use leading zeros e.g. v01. 

3. Dates in reverse order
Despite the versioning capabilities of a powerful Document Management System like SharePoint being able to automatically store versions of a document for you, most of us still like appending the name of the file with the date of the edit. It's just ‘easier’ and natural for us to do so. The common mistake is that we use DD/MM/YYYY order e.g., 4th July 2023 or 04-07-2023. If you start with the ‘day’ first, then you will get all the files from the 1st of every month at the top of list. The solution then is to reverse the date order and start with year, month, then day e.g., YYYY/MM/DD. 2023-07-04 

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